In this group of psalms we encounter the selfish rich and the unbeliever. (The fool who says in his heart that there is no God).(53:1). It’s clear that their lives – and their eternities are not to be envied. They may have a few moments of pleasure, but their pleasant lives are short and destruction is their sure end.
Yet in this group of psalms, there is one which really stands out: Psalm 51.
Do you remember the story about David and Bathsheba? He had an adulterous affair with her while her husband was out to battle for the nation of Israel. Then, when she became pregnant, he had her husband killed so that she could be his wife. Certainly that was the low moment of David’s life.
God sends Nathan, the prophet, to David with a message. He tells of two men, one rich and one poor, who lived in the same vicinity. The poor man had only one lamb which he loved so dearly, while the rich man had many. Yet the rich man went over and took the single sheep of his friend. Then Nathan asks, “What should be done?”
Of course, David is outraged at such behavior as he begins to suggest retribution and punishment. Then come Nathan’s famous words, “Thou art the man.” (II Samuel 12:7)
Many people at that point would try to justify themselves or deny any problems existed, but not David. Even though his sin is great, he seems to be shocked back into reality at these words from Nathan. “I have sinned against the Lord.” (II Samuel 12:13). Then come his repentance and turning back to God.
This is where Psalm 51 comes in. This was written by David as he faces the great sin of his life. Be gracious to me, create in me a clean heart, restore the joy of my salvation. All of these words pour out of a repentant heart; a heart which deep within wants to know God and walk with Him.
This quickness to repent is precious in the sight of God. So many want to cover their sins and pretend they aren’t there. If we deal with the sin in our lives, God is quick to forgive and wash us clean. He makes us whiter than snow, and restores the joy of our salvation.
So don’t ever be afraid to go to God with an honest heart. He knows it all anyway; you’re not hiding anything from God. Be honest, receive your forgiveness, and move on to the next level with God. There is tremendous joy in such humility.
As we begin the letters written by Paul, we enter a new dimension in our walk with God. We have been through the beginnings of creation and the earliest years. Then we have witnessed the Abrahamic covenant and we have seen how God walked with the Jews over the centuries during that phase of history. We have witnessed the life of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection. We have also seen the early history of the church, with the Holy Spirit being sent to live in the hearts of men.
Now we are into the letters from Paul. When the Holy Spirit was sent back to earth, a whole new dispensation began. No longer was man necessarily separated from God. Now, because of the new birth, man could have God living inside of Him – in his heart. The Holy Spirit in the hearts of men can give them insight which was never before possible. Also new anointings and new purpose.
Paul was the one God chose to reveal the mysteries of this new dispensation, and the revelation is shared in his letters. As we read the next books of the Bible, we will encounter the most significant parts of what our Christian life is all about. We will begin to see what Jesus has done for us, and begin to understand what God wants us to do.
So we start with Romans. Paul begins this letter, as he often does, by stating the foundations of the Christian faith, as laid down in the prophets of the Old Testament. Then he goes on to say that the gospel of Jesus is now to all people, the Jews, the Greeks, and even the barbarians. It is to all who will receive the gospel and believe it.
When we get to 1:17, we come to a famous verse. This is the verse which ignited the Protestant reformation under the leadership of Martin Luther. At that time in history, the Catholic church had fallen into lots of falsehood and manipulation. When people sinned, the priests required great retribution as payment. (Often the priests were getting rich off of the sins of their followers). Luther happened to see that the “just shall live by faith.” We are saved by faith. His revelation changed history.
As we go through the letters, I want to encourage you also to ask God for fresh eyes on what is said. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you as you read?
One thing is for sure. No one has ever lived up to the fullness of what Jesus paid the price for. As we continue each day reading and listening to His Spirit, we will grow in our understanding and our ability to carry out God’s plan for us. If we continue, we will continue to grow until the day we die.
I want to reach all that my Father has for me. I don’t want to sit down at any given point. I want to keep growing until my last breath! That’s God’s way.